Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic joined Scottish indie stalwarts The Vaselines onstage to perform ‘Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam’ on Monday (September 3).
The performance, which you can watch above, took place at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival and saw the reclusive grunge icon play accordion on the track.
Nirvana and The Vaselines share a tangled history regarding the track, which the former brought to global attention when they covered it on their live acoustic album ‘Unplugged In New York’. At the taping, Kurt Cobain introduced it as “a rendition of an old Christian song, I think. But we do it The Vaselines way.”
It was originally recorded by the Scottish band as ‘Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam’, as a parody on Christian children’s hymn ‘I’ll Be A Sunbeam’ on their 1988 EP ‘Dying For It’. The track remained little known outside of twee indie-pop circles, until 1992 when it was re-recorded with the amended title and included on compilation ‘The Ways Of The Vaselines: A Complete History’.
As well as the Unplugged version, two alternative Nirvana versions of the song were later released on the 2004 boxset ‘With The Lights Out’, one electric and one acoustic.
Novoselic has largely retired from music, but in recent years has made tentative steps to embracing the Nirvana legacy in public. In 2010 he appeared with Foo Fighters at a secret show in Tarzana, California where they ‘Marigold’, the Grohl-penned B-side to ‘Heart-Shaped Box’. He also played bass and accordion on the band’s album track ‘I Should Have Known’ from last year’s ‘Wasting Light’.